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Measuring Wildfire Plumes in the Arctic using a Network of Ground-based FTIR spectrometers

Each summer, boreal wildfires present a considerable contribution to aerosol and traces gas emissions to the atmosphere. Emissions from these events may then undergo long-range transport from mid-latitude regions to the Arctic. Due to the spatial and temporal variabilities of wildfire events, the transport pathways and the influence of wildfire emissions on the Arctic remain uncertain. In this talk, I will present the time series of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and ethane (C2H6) measured using a network of high-latitude ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers. For each site, the inter-annual trends and seasonal variabilities of the CO total column time series are accounted for, allowing ambient concentrations to be determined. Enhancements above ambient levels are then used to identify possible wildfire pollution events. Since the abundance of each trace gas species emitted in a wildfire event is specific to the type of vegetation burned and the burning phase, correlations of CO to the other long-lived wildfire tracers HCN and C2H6 allow for further confirmation of the detection of wildfire pollution. Satellite observations and model comparisons to measurements will also be shown. Measurements from the exceptional 2017 wildfire season will be highlighted.